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Trump's former lawyer jailed for three years

Michael Cohen with his children and wife at federal court. Picture by Craig Ruttle/AP

US PRESIDENT Donald Trump's former lawyer has been jailed for three years.

A New York judge said Michael Cohen deserved a harsh punishment for crimes including tax evasion, lying to congress and arranging illegal payments to silence women who posed a risk to Mr Trump's presidential campaign.

District Judge William H Pauley III rejected arguments by Cohen's lawyers that he should be spared jail because he cooperated in multiple federal investigations involving Mr Trump.

Cohen said his "blind loyalty" to Mr Trump made him feel a duty to "cover up" the president's "dirty deeds".

Cohen's crimes included evading $1.4 million in taxes and misleading congress about his talks with Russians about a Trump skyscraper project in Moscow.

Mr Trump called for a tough sentence for Cohen, whom he labelled a liar.

The judge said Cohen's cooperation with prosecutors "does not wipe the slate clean" of his crimes.

Mr Pauley said that Cohen "appears to have lost his moral compass" and that the lawyer "should have known better" than to dodge taxes, lie to Congress and violate campaign finance laws.

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